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mouse gesturesPower users will vouch that the keyboard-shortcuts combo is the best thing when it comes to productivity on the computer. But for those with lesser mental RAM, the humble mouse is the only device that matters. The good news is that even the mouse can be optimized for speedier work thanks to mouse gestures.

Mouse gestures are specific movements that are recognized by software and translated into quick actions on the screen. Mouse gestures can be used to perform quick actions, like forward and backward browsing or opening a program among others. Using gestures is also helpful for people who have difficulties with typing on the keyboard.

We have taken you through quite a few mouse gesture tools. Let’s take a look at another lightweight one here.

The Portable and Lightweight StrokesPlus

StrokesPlus is small, portable mouse gesture recognition freeware that works on Windows XP/Vista/7 (both Win32/x64). In some circles it is described as a StrokeIt How To Set Up Shortcuts for Your Mouse using StrokeIt How To Set Up Shortcuts for Your Mouse using StrokeIt Read More alternative, the de facto standard mouse gesture recognition software for free use. Both use the same scripting language (Lua scripting) that gives the user flexibility in defining gestures.

StrokesPlus is a 1 MB download and you can opt for the ZIP file which does not require an installation. The other choice is the installer package which creates the usual program group with shortcuts. Either way StrokesPlus runs from the system tray and you can activate-deactivate it with a double click on the icon.

mouse gestures

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Using Mouse Gestures

If you haven’t done it before, using mouse gestures is just like drawing on the screen. StrokesPlus uses the right-mouse button as the default stroke button. You have to simple hold it down and draw the gesture on the screen or the browser, and release the mouse button at the end of the gesture. For instance, typing a figure that resembles ‘N’ opens up a new tab in the Chrome browser.

mouse gestures for windows

Similar gestures are assigned to specific actions. You can take a look at all the default actions that are packaged into StrokesPlus by right-clicking on the system tray icon and going into Actions. The actions are categorized into Global Actions (that are system wide), Chrome (for the browser), and Desktop (a few gestures for exceptions). Actions range from centering windows to opening Notepad and typing some text into it.

Configuring New Actions

mouse gestures for windows

You can extend StrokesPlus into new gesture driven areas by configuring new actions. New actions can be configured for the entire system or for specific applications. StrokesPlus uses Lua script to program actions, so instead of learning it from scratch, you can look into the pre-existing actions to see how the mouse gestures are scripted for controlling Windows features. The StrokesPlus help file describes all actions and variable functions in detail. You can also check into the Forum (e.g. the General Action script thread) for usage hints.

Scripting new actions from scratch might take you into complicated territory, but for common day to day use, the default 50 actions that come with StrokesPlus is more than sufficient.

Training StrokesPlus

mouse gestures for windows

StrokesPlus has a training mode if you want to modify existing gestures and give them your own. By entering multiple samples for a gesture, you can also train StrokesPlus about existing gestures and enable it to better recognize the way you draw the gestures.

You can experiment with the precision values by going into Preferences. Checking the Play Sound for No Match helps to give an auditory feedback in case the gesture is not recognized. You can use the Ignore key for instances when you don’t want StrokesPlus to interfere with another application (e.g. Photoshop). StrokesPlus also has an Ignore list for such conflicting situations.

mouse gestures

I haven’t gone deep into Lua scripting as the default actions have been enough to boost my productivity over the course of a day. Does StrokePlus with its configurable script actions manage to stand up against the excellent StrokeIt? Do you use a mouse gesture recognition tool to enhance your productivity? Let us know the answers below.

  1. eli
    March 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    sometimes I prefer hardware, check out the truly amazing x-mouse button control, it let you remap hw buttons; for .i.e. I have: middle wheel tilt right=copy /middle wheel tilt left=paste middle wheel click=cut
    and if you have one of those zillion buttons gaming mouse it's a blast!

  2. Lino Oliveira
    March 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I use StrokeIt in Windows 7.
    Some actions (like button+mouse wheel for task switching) are not working with same behaviour because of some Windows 7 features.
    But it continues to be quite usable.

    • Saikat Basu
      March 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      StrokeIt is pretty good too. These two apps, both use Lua scripting. And both need a bit of getting used to :)

  3. Pradosh
    February 29, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I tried this but its very tough to get hands on it.
     

    • Saikat Basu
      March 2, 2012 at 7:04 am

      Mouse gestures take a bit of getting used to at first. Some gestures get recognized more easily than others. I use it for my browsing, because that feels more intuitive to me.

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